Resolution Reform

Already fallen off the resolution wagon? It’s not the end of the road, yet! In fact, this early misstep might provide the key to getting back on track!

Before you beat yourself up, give yourself props for choosing resolutions that take a little work. Chances are, you faltered because you chose goals that were difficult and not already a part of your lifestyle. Going back to your usual healthy eating habits after the holidays is hardly an epic struggle, but instituting a thrice-weekly gym routine might be. Don’t look at this lapse as a setback. An early misstep is actually ideal; it’s the first step in strategizing for worthwhile, lifelong change.

Measurable goals

First, take a look at how you worded your goals. Were they realistic? If you had your sights set on being perfect in 2007, go back to the drawing board. Your goals need to be attainable.

Next, ask yourself if your resolutions are set up so you can measure your progress. Don’t set yourself up for disaster! “I will eat better this year” is destined to fail. Instead, try to “give up fast food” or “stick to 2000 calories a day.”

That said, it is possible to establish measurable goals even if your resolutions truly are general. If you want to “be more optimistic,” for example, or “cut back on drinking,” you’ll need something concrete in the beginning. Maybe you won’t exceed two drinks a week. Or you’ll keep a journal each day, and be sure to say something positive about yourself. Whatever it is, for a couple of months, hold yourself to a plan you can assess and follow. You’ll start new habits that will last once you stop counting.

What went wrong?

This is an excellent opportunity to reassess your plan. Once you isolate the traps in your lifestyle, it will be that much easier to instate real change. Promising yourself to drink less is hardly practical if you spend your weekends with friends at the bar. Once you’ve identified the obstacles, replace bad habits with good ones. Suggest an alternate destination, volunteer to be the DD or reconnect with other friends. You can’t foster new habits in your old lifestyle. Observe what needs to change (at least in these first, most difficult steps) and take action!

Forgive yourself

Don’t abandon your goals because of a slip. It’s all a process! You didn’t promise yourself you’d never be tempted or that you’d effortlessly morph into the new, improved you. Forgiving yourself for a temporary relapse is the most important step in making a resolution stick. Remember: change is hard. It’s not a single decision, but a series of tiny commitments. If you’re ready reassess your plan and get back on the resolution wagon, you’ve already beaten the odds and are well on your way to permanent, positive change!

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